Short Story: “A Pomegranate Heart” (Afrodita Nikolova)


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I know that I will most certainly die. You do things and then you die. Gandhi said: “Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”

See that small child eating pomegranate on the bench in the yard of the old wooden house? Well, that’s me. When I was little there were two things I couldn’t resist: looking at girls in miniskirts and eating pomegranates.

Girls will be girls, but pomegranates, that juicy wet liquid, blood soaring in the mouth to 99 degrees, that’s something.

When I was little I must’ve thought that my Momma’s right breast was a pomegranate, for I’m told that I clung to it and only to it, perpetually. I clung to my older sister too, but I guess it must’ve been that she always wore those velvet miniskirts.

I used to think that the moon is one huuge pomegranate, yellow from the outside, but red from the inside. I always had these dreams of squeezing the moon, but with my teeth. The erotic substance, the red juice bubbling in my mouth cavity as the mass of red juicy seeds sprinkled the inside walls of the cheeks. There is nothing erotic about it, yes, I know.

What I also know is that the moon is not a pomegranate, I was told so afterwards, but did that prevent me from believing in my childhood theory? No. Did that prevent the child, sitting on the bench in the yard of the old wooden house, from expecting every winter, the snow to fall in red snowflakes? No. I was definitely convinced that if I don’t sink my teeth into the moon’s core, than someone else will do it and he will fail to do it properly and the red dense liquid will fall onto the clouds and it’ll get stuck in them as food gets stuck in teeth, or maybe as gore forms on an infected wound. That’s why I expected to see, every damn winter, how these clouds release the moon’s gore on the surface of earth, as red snow. Even then I knew of envy. Maybe I didn’t know it was called so, but I did have this unknown warm suffocating feeling inside, every time I thought someone else would spill the moon’s insights, let alone that I won’t even know about it, because there maybe won’t be snow to foretell it, or if it came as rain maybe I’d think it was only muddy rain. People envy, children too, the one who says he doesn’t lies, but I envied someone without a face, body, name, without even being sure of someone’s existence, but as the globe is a cradle of so many people, I knew that some day, someone will come up with this idea. I knew that this childish idea will mature soon enough in some human mind.

I’m telling you, it wasn’t me, if it was, I would be glad to tell you it was. I couldn’t have tasted the real moon’s substance. I do admit that I like eating pomegranates even now, but I doubt that even Neil Armstrong could have tasted something of it on the moon. It is totally absurd and imaginary.

When I was an adolescent, my Poppa used to be my best companion. I knew then how stupid was to have been in fear of my childhood theory so I shunned it. It was then that I clung to Poppa, more than to any other member of my family, though he didn’t wear a mini skirt, and though I still loved eating pomegranates and staring at girls in mini skirts.

He unlocked the door of reality to me, the medicine and mystery of human body function.

Thanks, Poppa, I owe you the degree I’ve acquired in medicine, may you rest in peace.

He died from a heart condition. It was these clogs of blood that formed in his vessels, which stopped the flow of blood forever. The great philosopher Martin Dubrakov Pleskov ceased to be, not his theories.

Yes, I know that “great minds think alike,” my Poppa used to say that. He liked literature a hell of a lot. He told me once, I remember, to cherish the science, medical science, but he always had a subtle way of getting to his point. He instigated my becoming a cardiologist and he was a man of great humour. I know that talking about him now doesn’t make sense to you, but once, when Suzi was my girlfriend, he quoted: “…give her an onion, it’s your heart wrapped in brown paper.” You see now, isn’t that an improvement to my childish theory, to say that the moon is a heart wrapped in yellow and grey paper?

My Poppa died on the table, his chest, open in front of my eyes, under the bloody plastic gloves on my hands.

Even as I was holding the instruments, I knew I couldn’t fix his clogged vessels.

Was it difficult?

It was, but isn’t it that “whatever you do in life it will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it”?

I tell you now, dear lawyer. I’m not guilty of any crime. I wasn’t able to help the patient Majovski as I couldn’t help my Poppa. All patients are equal to me. If I say in an interview or in a book something that may imply myself being a doer of a crime, it is all empty association. And, man is not always what he says or what he does.

I do admit and it is written in my record, and in my biography that I did, after the death of Poppa, take his heart and sink my teeth into it. Does that make me a perpetrator? It is in accordance to the law that one may do what he chooses with his relative’s remains. Is it moral? Grief-stricken people are free even of the possibility to sense morality. That is my story, dear Ms Paula Korevski, you are the lawyer whom I trust thoroughly and you have to know I’m not guilty of any crime.

Mr B. Dubrakov Pleskov, a renowned cardiologist, was led to court the following week, mumbling under his breath, “the moon is a heart, a pomegranate, and all human hearts are beating moons, pomegranates.”

The case about the missing patients’ hearts is still in process. It is said that in one of his interviews he supposedly stated that he always taught his children the theory of the moon being a pomegranate when they were small. When they became adults they were well aware that the moon is only the round object that moves in the sky around the Earth and can be seen at night.

The sources continue to claim that Mr Pleskov was taken away somewhere… “Old age snuffs out the flame one has for women,” Pleskov told the media, “but it never extinguishes the gluttony to eat pomegranates.”


“A Pomegranate Heart” is copyright 2010, by Afrodita Nikolova. All rights are reserved. This story may not be reprinted or reposted without permission from the author.

The video and images (“A Pomegranate is a Beating Heart”) are copyright 2010, by Jennifer Semple Siegel.

“Copper Mountain,” the YouTube track for “A Pomegranate is a Beating Heart,” is courtesy of Dan-O:
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